By John Burton
MIDDLETOWN – The Oceanic Bridge (S-31) over the Navesink River was officially closed to vehicular traffic on Monday, October 17 to allow for repairs to the bridge’s 100-foot, center bascule span.
To accommodate marine traffic, one section of the bridge’s double-leaf bascule span will be kept in the upright position. The work requires the bridge to be closed to all other traffic until the work is completed by Memorial Day weekend 2012.
The rehabilitation work on the double-leaf bascule span includes the removal of the existing grid deck and construction of a new grid deck. The work also will include the rehabilitation or removal and replacement of stringers, floor beams, supporting steelwork and a catwalk.
Additionally, work to strengthen structural steel and to repair mechanical and electrical systems will be done along with the cleaning and painting of the existing bascule span steel.
“The repair work will extend the usable life of this 72-year-old bridge,” Freeholder Deputy Director John P. Curley said. “This 2,700-foot bridge that connects Rumson and Middletown is slated for full replacement in the next five to 10 years, but repairs are needed now.”
The county Department of Public Works and Engineering held public meetings last month to review the various bridge replacement options and the costs associated with it. Information, maps and public comment forms are available on the Roads and Bridges section of the county Web site at www.visitmonmouth.com. There is also an interview with Freeholder Curley and County Engineer Joseph Ettore available on YouTube.
Motorists should use the signed detours and expect travel delays during the project. All motor vehicle traffic on Bingham Avenue between Rumson and Middletown (CR-8) will be detoured. Traffic can either travel west through Fair Haven and Red Bank to Middletown or travel east through Sea Bright and Highlands to Middletown.
Specifically, northbound traffic from Rumson on Bingham Avenue (CR-8) will be directed east through Fair Haven and Red Bank on East River Road (CR-10) to East Front Street to Route 35 North to Navesink River Road (CR-12A) in Middletown. Or, northbound traffic can take Bingham Avenue south, turn left onto Rumson Road (CR- 520) to Sea Bright and turn left onto Ocean Avenue (Route 36 North) to Highlands and take the jughandle for Navesink Avenue in Middletown. Follow Navesink Avenue and turn left onto Locust Avenue and left again onto Locust Point Road (CR-8B).
Southbound traffic from Middletown will be directed west on Navesink River Road (CR-12A) to Route 35 South in Red Bank and follow detours signs to travel west on East Front Street (CR10)/ East River Road through Fair Haven and into Rumson. Or, southbound traffic can follow Navesink River Road (CR- 12A)/ Locust Point Road (CR- 8B) and turn right onto Locust Avenue, turning right onto Navesink Avenue and then bear right onto Route 36 South through Highlands and into Sea Bright. Turn right onto the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge and follow Rumson Road (CR- 520) west to Bingham Avenue. Turn right onto Bingham Avenue (CR-8) to East River Road (CR-10).
Weather permitting, the work is expected to be completed in time for Memorial Day weekend 2012.
The work will conducted by the Iron Bridge Group, Inc. of North Brunswick. The county’s Department of Public Works and Engineering is overseeing the project. The contract amount of the rehabilitation project is $3,554,380.
Additional information about the bridge is available on the county Web site at www.visitmonmouth.com.